When Leeds Rhinos' youngsters faced world's best - including superstar Greg Inglis - and came out on top: Which of these England academy players do you recognise?

In the summer of 2004, a posse of Leeds Rhinos youngsters were preparing to take on the best in the world.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 4:52 pm

England’s academy played three Tests in New Zealand and Australia, beginning with a 22-20 defeat of the Junior Kiwis at North Harbour Stadium.

The hosts squared the series with a 22-12 win at the same venue a week later.

The young lions then moved on to Australia to face an Aussie Schoolboys side including future superstar Greg Inglis.

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Leeds Rhinos' England academy players line up ahead of the tour to New Zealand and Australia in 2004. Picture by Mark Bickerdike.

Leeds’ John Gallagher and David Docherty were among the try scorers - with clubmate Lee Smith adding four goals and a drop - as England stunned the Aussies 33-24 in a one-off Test in Sydney.

Smith and Ablett both went on to set Grand Final records with Rhinos and were capped at full international level.

Smith was a try scorer and winner in three successive finals, each playing in a different position, between 2007-2009.

Ablett - who, other than a brief spell on loan at London, was a one-club man - played in eight title deciders without defeat.

Smith also had spells in rugby union and for Wakefield Trinity at Super League level.

Gibson, Williams and Murrell all played in Super League for Leeds and Golden did so with Wakefield and Harlequins/London Broncos.

Gibson's other clubs included Salford, Castleford Tigers, Wakefield and Bradford Bulls.

Williams played for Castleford, Hull, Salford, Bradford and in union with Newcastle Falcons. He was also capped by England.

Murrell had long spells with Hull KR and Halifax and is the last man standing, being part of Keighley Cougars' squad for 2022.

Gallagher played for Batley Bulldogs and was capped by Ireland and Stenchion played in the lower divisions for Hunslet, York City Knights, Oldham, Dewsbury Rams and Batley.

Pictured by Evening Post photographer Mark Bickerdike in July, 2006, ahead of the tourists’ departure to New Zealand, are Leeds’ John Gallagher, Ashley Gibson, Lee Smith, Carl Ablett, Jason Golden, Danny Williams, Scott Murrell and Luke Stenchion.

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